Year THREE in Zacango here we come...

Sunday, November 9, 2008

We are finally here, living in our new home in Zacongo!!! It’s been quite a journey! Thank you to all of you who have helped us get this far through your kind thoughts, words, deed, prayers, etc. etc. It sounds like I’m writing some kind of award show acceptance speech or an acknowledgments page in a book – but we really are so grateful for all that our family, friends, and fellow MCCers have done for us to help us get to this point. We wouldn’t be living in our home right now if it weren’t for our fantastico fellow MCCers here in Mexico, together with members of our new community, who pulled out all the stops to get our house ready for us (and continue to work on it still). Prior to our arrival these folks did it all– they painted, and built a bathroom, and painted, and built counter tops, and painted, and ordered us furniture, and painted, and made sure we had food and other essentials, and painted some more! Thank you so much to all of you!
And now here we are in Zacongo! We arrived here on Monday, November 4 after spending a lively and festive last weekend with our host family in Cuernavaca. It was the weekend of a very important holiday here in Mexico – Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead). It’s actually a series of days where people remember their loved ones who have passed on. An alter is set up for dead family members/friends and food offerings (the favourite foods of those being remembered) are put on the alter. Later the food is eaten. Some families go to the grave site to eat the food. It is not at all a sad holiday but instead a time of gathering with family and joyfully remembering those who have passed on – it’s a big party! We celebrated with our host family and the kids had a blast staying up till all hours of the night dancing, and running around the yard. It was difficult to say good-bye to our host family but we know we’ll see them again during our time in Mexico.
Now back to our arrival in Zacongo. It was such a surreal experience that it is difficult to put it into words. We were told that upon arriving in Zacongo there would be a community meeting where we would be introduced to the community. In anticipation of this Bruce and I had prepared a few words (in Spanish) to read at the meeting (fully realizing that every single Spanish word we knew would vanish from our brains when in front of a crowd.)Well, it turns out that we arrived in Zacongo a bit later than expected and when we turned the corner off the main road we saw a whole crowd of people waiting for us by the community hall…my heart skipped a few beats as I began to wrack my brain over where I had put our short (very short) but essential “speeches.” Turns out we had no time to find them and went straight to the community hall. It was a very humbling experience to sit in front of a group of such warm, smiling, welcoming faces, and know that it was okay that we didn’t know what to say. We probably wouldn’t have known what to say even if we were fluent Spanish speakers – it was a beautiful experience and we left the meeting feeling very welcomed and very much at home.
After the meeting many community members (lots of kids) dropped by the house to say hello and it has been that way every day since. Each day kids come over to play inside and outside the house, and adults drop by for a visit and bring food. There are people here most hours of the day, and while it gets overwhelming at times, right now we are mostly basking in the joy of being home and feeling so welcomed here!

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